BBM moves to protect the poor, most affected sectors from ill-effects of runaway fuel prices

INCOMING President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos is bent on solving the problem of the ballooning prices of petroleum and fuel products by focusing on sectors and workers whose livelihoods are endangered by the unabated price hikes.

In gunning down a proposal to suspend the excise tax on fuel amid the almost weekly price increases, Marcos explained that suspension would be a blanket solution that may not necessarily help those who are actually reeling from the impact of the increases.

“I prefer to handle the problem on the other side of the equation and provide assistance to those who are in need because if you reduce the excise taxes that does not necessarily help those who are most in need, ‘yung talagang tinatamaan. Kasi blanket eh,” the President-elect said.

“So, yung aking iniisip kung sino ‘yung kaagad na tinamaan, example yung lumabas kaagad – mga transport, ‘yung mga nagpapasada all of the tinamaan kaagad i-focus muna natin sa kanila – ‘yung mga nangangailangan talaga,” he explained.

“Because you know, ‘yung naman may kaya they can afford to even the VAT. It’s those who have… those whose livelihoods are in danger or in danger of losing their livelihood because of the increase in oil (prices). Baka dapat dun tayo mag focus,” he further explained.

The incoming President stressed that transportation is fundamental because it is essential in the peoples’ daily lives and it affects not only the peoples’ mobility but also the movement of raw materials, finished products, agriculture, and food supply, among others, hence the resolution of the problem of transportation is an utmost priority.

While admitting that the government’s hands are tied in terms of petroleum prices dictated by the world market, Marcos said his incoming administration is considering taking the direction that the previous administration of his father took when the oil crisis occurred in 1973.

“Wala naman tayong magawa, we just have to take whatever price we’re getting but hopefully, I remember in the last oil crisis in 1973, napakiusapan naman natin ang mga kaibigan natin na oil producing countries na medyo pagbigyan tayo in terms of the credit, in terms of the payment period, and things like that. Baka we’ll pursue that again, sa diplomacy side lang naman ‘yan,” he said.

Marcos also disclosed that he already opened discussions with other countries that have oil supplies, adding that they are also considering other measures that would cushion the impact of the fuel price increases.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III earlier urged Marcos to suspend the implementation of excise tax on petroleum products, as he vowed to file a bill on the issue.

Pimentel made the call as the public continues to reel amid a series of oil price hikes and their effects on prices of basic commodities and services, adding that the public’s sufferings should no longer be worsened by the excise tax on fuel, which, based on a progressive group’s computation, is around P16 per liter. ###